When people talk about Austin they always mention the amazing music scene but what I wonder is why isn’t anyone raving about the incredible dance culture? What ever you’re in the mood for you’re likely to find it here. In my short stay I danced the blues, tried my hand at two stepping, lost myself to techno pop and even sashayed my way into a waltz class that was being taught by Miss Jessie Lee and her amazing dance partner, Mr. Gage Kuehn. Dancing sure was a huge part of this trip for me and I believe it’s just the start of something new because where ever you go people are dancing.. plus it’s just so good for the body, mind and spirit..
Firstly, let’s talk the blues… Monday evenings are Texas blues night at TC’s Lounge and you can bet that Jess, Gage and I made our way down there to get our dance on. TC’s is an amazing juke jive on the east side with a lot of raw character. It’s packed and very intimate dance floor is hot and groovin’ and you can expect to go home a hot sweaty mess at the end of the night. And I have to say that it’s dive-y (in that charming way) interior definitely had me at Hello. It’s the kind of place a movie tries to recreate but can never quite get it right.
Gage had me out on the dance floor for my first blues lesson and after that I had to fend for myself. I was asked to dance with several different guys, of all ages, shapes and sizes and I have to say I didn’t do too terribly. It’s really all about having a good lead when you’re first starting out and with that being said there are definitely guys out there that fall short… but the music is always amazing so when all else fails you just lose yourself in that.
The bar is a BYOL (or beer or wine) and they have a crock pot of some sort of food which its usually frito pie, chili or goolosh and it’s on the house! I even heard they have free condoms for all those who might need them after gettin’ hot and bluesy on the dance floor.. ha ha. Gosh, we had an awesome time dancing the night away.. (so much fun I even just took an all day Blues Dance Workshop this past weekend). Even though it was pretty chilly by the time we left TC’s our bodies were so warm with blues that we failed to notice..
Now, on to Two Steppin’. Two words. Broken Spoke. Another place that could never be recreated anywhere else ever. Wednesday nights at the Spoke are ‘ladies get in free night’ so you can bet we were in attendance. Paige, Jess, Gage and I all made our way down to get our groove on with Dale Watson, a local music legend and country singer who sure knows how to get people dancing and having a good time. I will let the pictures speak mostly for themselves when it comes to Dale and his band but you kind of just have to be there for yourself to truly experience it all.
In southern gentleman fashion Gage had me back out there for my first two steppin’ lesson and then I was out on my own. I have to say I caught on to two steppin’ a little bit quicker than blues (could be because blues is a really sensual dance that involves very controlled but fluid movements) and I had such a fun time. Standing on the edge of the dance floor waiting to be asked for a dance was a totally new experience for me. Putting yourself in new situations is never easy but it’s really good for the human spirit in so many ways. Realizing there is nothing to be afraid of and to just do it is the biggest natural high ever (in fact it makes me smile just thinking of it).
I danced with men of all ages, the “good ol’ boys” and the younger lads and they each brought something new to the table. I had one man, who must have been over 60, twirl me around the dance floor like I’ve never been twirled before.. it was awesome! But I have to say the highlight was being asked to dance by a sweet lad named Ryan and after a few rounds on the dance floor we found our rhythm. Dancing with lots of different partners can be fun but it’s definitely more enjoyable finding someone you dance well with (kind of like a game of chess – an equal opponent makes for a much more interesting game). Sure, I loved being whipped around the dance floor by the good ol’ boys but I felt an equal when dancing with Ryan.
Jess and Gage were a whole other story. I couldn’t believe my eyes when watching them and everyone else was watching them too. They were electric out there creating movement and flow and magic with every step they took together. If there ever was a pair that belonged together out there on the dance floor it is them. We all stayed dancing into the wee hours and Jess and Gage were even tested by Dale on the exact coordinates of their first meeting (he was mightily impressed by their dancing skills together). Another night well spent and I have two steppin’ at The Broken Spoke to thank for not only showing me a real good time but also the self satisfaction of trying something new and meeting a real good friend in the process..